Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Decisions. Decisions.

When it comes to a kitchen remodel ... all you seem to do is make decisions.

What will I store there?  Where will I put this?  What color of trim?  What kind of hardware?

But this should be easy for me .... after all, I spent 25 years of my working career in draperies, flooring, furniture and kitchen design.  Piece. of. cake.


Today .... I will talk about my flooring decision ... and how I haven't quite made it yet.

Currently ... in our kitchen we have wood.

Sixteen years ago ... I talked Honey into ripping out Congoleum 40010.  Little brown brick like thing.  You've seen it.  Once upon a time ... it was EVERY. WHERE.

And underneath the brown bricky vinyl was a 4" fir floor.

The original floor in the house.

My heart fluttered.

I was in love.

We had it sanded.   And I talked Honey into painting the floor with a floor paint.


First a dark green and then a deep orange-y terra cotta.  The terra cotta color would wear ... and we would get the green ... like years of wear on the floor.

And we got this.

And I loved it.  And I still love it.

Sort of.

First ... I am a messy cook.  I bake bread a couple of times a week ... so flour is on the floor.

I make noodles and pasta .... so more flour is on the floor.

I can tomatoes .... so water and tomatoes are on the floor.  Mixed with the flour.

I make jam .... so sticky stuff is on the floor.  Mixed with the flour ... the tomatoes and the water.

And I regularly drop eggs on the floor .... cuz I am certain there are no more eggs tucked into my hem of my shirt!

Need I say more????

The 120 year flooring is currently on life support.

And now ..... looks like this.

Every where ... the tongue and groove are breaking out leaving splinters and flourtomatoestickystuffeggdirt material  in the grooves of the floor.

Great vintage farmhouse look ......

Not so much on the clean-ability.

So ... I want something that works for me and we chose Forbo Marmoleum Click.

We talked about doing a pattern but by the time the table, the hutch, the bookcase, the island, the cupboards and 5 doorways are accounted for ..... you won't see any pattern anyway.  So it will be a solid color.

Forbo's Click is a DIY dream .... you can put it down on any floor and "click" it together.  And you can't see the seam.  It fits extremely tightly together for a very smooth finish.  It comes in 12" squares or 12"x36" panels.  We chose that size as it will be even easier and faster to install.

It has three layers ..... a solid environmentally sound linseed oil-based linoleum layer, an engineered wood substrate and a layer of cork that deadens sound and helps "float" over the floors imperfections.

I sound sold, right???? 

I am but ............................

What color do I choose???

The main cabinets will be the ivory on the right with a flat panel shaker style door.  The sink base and baking center will be the willow wainscotted cabinets with a coffee glaze with furniture styled features.

In the store .... I was convinced I wanted the center sample or the sample to the left.  But the left sample (Barbados) blends into the cabinet so much .... there is no difference in tones.  The center (Caribbean) seems too gray for me ..... and I hate gray.

Except for hair ..... I like gray hair.  :)

Finally the right sample ... is Van Gogh.  A little more yellow than I thought I wanted.  I keep going back to it ... which should be a sign.... but its not quite a billboard yet!!!!

Wall color is Sherwin Williams blonde which is a chameleon of a color and the original wainscoting -- is an antique white.  Yea .... the original wainscoting is still in the kitchen.

You old house lovers can be jealous now.  ;)

So ............ talk among yourselves.

Let me know if you have a consensus.

I need to look at countertops. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kitchen update ...........

So if you are at all curious at my kitchen progress ........... I will give you an update.

Sort of.

Progress ..... not so much.

The garden held on to its produce much later than usual.  I think I have one more round of canning tomatoes.  We brought in everything last weekend .... and the last bucket of tomatoes is ripening.

We still have so much winter squash, I decided to can a little of it. And although we thought the sweet potatoes were a bust .... digging two of the 20 hills yielded quite a pile!

I did can 3 pints of sweet potatoes the other night.  I plan on doing much more as I am not sure we can keep all the squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes without losing some. (Remember both squash and sweet potatoes must be pressure canned!)

So the kitchen remodel has been ... well, languishing.

But we have been making decisions and exploring possibilities.

We had some definite goals when we started this kitchen remodel.

1) Local designer (not a big box store)
2) Quality cabinets ... 3/4" dovetailed drawers, undermount hardware, solid wood cabinets, soft close drawers.
3) Keep what I love
4) Design my kitchen to make my life easier
5) Be thoughtful in my choices and use environmentally conscientious material.

And some of these goals have been accomplished.

1) Local designer ... CR Cabinetry 
2) Quality Cabinets ...Kabinart
3) I am keeping my "Oh so Martha" cabinet and the plate rack that Honey built for me.  Both will be painted to match the new cabinets.  Fortunately, Sherwin Williams has paint that perfectly matches all of Kabinart's painted finishes.

I am also keeping the antique wainscoted pantry but it will be moved into the laundry room.

The current island .... built from an antique bar cooler ... will stay but the pot rack will go and pendant lights will go in its place.  It has a Swanstone solid surface countertop that I will keep for a while but I do hope to change it in the future.

I am also keeping my brass light fixtures.

One of the light fixtures was in my parents' dining room when I was a child.  Like when I was 6!  They did a serious remodel .... moved every room in the house except two bedrooms ... moved every window and door except for the front door.

Well ... I cried when they tried to throw out the light fixture.  So they put it in the basement.  Periodically, they would attempt to throw it out ... and I would cry.  Finally, they said .... when you have your own house, you can hang the light fixture.

So .... I did!!  And I still love it!  ;)  And it is staying!!!

4) I have gone through the layout over and over and over again.  I have walked through the steps ... trying to make sure all the bases are covered.

We have never had a dishwasher and although, we could live without it ..... we are putting in an 18" dishwasher.

We are also installing a potfiller above the stove.  Yea .... this one!  The one that is on my dining room table!

(I have a nest of parts and pieces for the kitchen .... just piling up and accumulating .... waiting for their big moment!)

After buying a 34 quart canner .... I. Can. Not. Wait.  to have this bad boy hanging over my stove!

5) And finally ... this piece of the puzzle.  Whoa!

As Kermit the Frog said .... It's not easy being green! 

But we are looking at two green possibilities for the kitchen.

First ... the floor.  We are making a trip to The Green Building Supply to look at Forbo Marmoleum Click.

Marmoleum is a true linseed oil based linoleum.  Like what was in your great grandmother's house.  Not your mother's ........... that was a vinyl based product.

Linoleum is a green product .... and Click is a DIY product that literally "clicks" together.

Sixteen years ago ... we ripped up old vinyl ... sanded the floor ... and painted the original tongue and groove fir flooring.  The paint has worn just like we wanted it to .......... but the 120 year old floor has too much damage to keep.  And as much as I LOVE wood floors ..... they are not practical when the first room you walk into ... is your kitchen.

I need something that I can scrub when jam is bubbling over the pot!

Hopefully ... we will like the look of "Click" when we put it with the cabinet samples.

And finally .... counter tops.  Yicks!   Green counter tops are not easy ..... I know I want butcherblock/wood top for the baking center.  And I knew that I didn't want granite or stone for the main counter top.

I had decided that laminate would be my choice ........... until I read about this.

Paper counter tops ............... I can't wait to look at these!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What if ...........

Last night was Beer Tuesday .......

And our little group has extremely eclectic conversations. 

Like we will talk about sports, quilting, cooking, wifi availability, kids at school,  politics, the birds nesting near us and faith.

Remember that ............. I will get back to it.

So as I was leaving, I commented to Honey that I needed to stop and get gas for my 16 year old RAV4. I usually fill up at a small locally owned neighborhood quick shop but tonight, I pulled into one of the truck stops along the interstate.

A youngish Middle Eastern woman immediately approached me and asked me for money for gas.

Now .... I live in the middle of a cornfield on the east coast of Iowa.  I look out my window and I don't see homelessness and poverty.

It is there ..... I know.

But I see beautiful sunrises, rows of flowers and ripening tomatoes.

When I am hungry ..... I gather some eggs.  When I am cold ..... I wrap up in another blanket.  When I need socks ..... I pull out the knitting needles and yarn.  We are not rich ..... but we have all that we need.

So with $5 in cash in my pocket .... I brushed off the young woman and she went back to the van where her partner was carefully and deliberately washing the windows .... over and over again.

And our conversation of less than an hour before came back to me.

Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry and didn't ask why.  He did it ...... and said ... Go and sin no more. 

No questions.  No demands.  No conditions on the gifts.

I finished putting the gas in the car..... and I thought what I could really buy with $5.  Did I need it??

They could possibly get 40 miles down the road .... they could buy a cold drink or a sandwich apiece.

And I pulled around and gave the young woman the $5 I had.

Immediately, I was chastised by a well dressed older woman.  Elegantly coiffed and impeccably dressed .... she was classy from head to toe.  She looked like she came from the country club or Junior League or a day shopping with friends. 

Or from church ........

She said ......... You know, people like them do this all the time.    

Yes, I know.

It is just a scam.

Yes, I know.

People like us give money so people like them have places to go.

(Whoa.  You didn't say that???  You want to hide the problem so you don't see it??)

And I said to her ........... But what if it was my daughter? 

She said nothing.

As I drove off .... I realized that we in America don't want to see the poverty around us.  We want to see pretty flowers and beautiful sunsets and manicured lawns. 

We are afraid of being scammed ..... even for $5.

How could I immediately so callously brush off that young woman's needs?   And later .... I thought of so many other scenarios that might have been happening from trafficking to prostitution that I should have addressed with her.  Did she need the police?  Was she safe??

And I discovered .... that my own heart ... has some serious work to do. 

Starting today ..........

Starting now......